These days, a cart takes visitors from Israel's Ein Gedi resort to the edge of the Dead Sea.
Twenty years ago, tourists stepped right onto the shore.
The Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth's surface, is shrinking（收缩）as its salty waters rapidly dry up（干涸）.
With no clear solution to the problem, environmentalists（环境保护论者）and tourist businesses are worried.
"Every time I come here the beach is further and further away. One day there will only be a puddle（水坑）left," says Gidon Bromberg, of the environmental group Friends of the Earth, Middle East.
Too salty to sustain（持续）life, the Dead Sea is a draw for tourists who come to float（飘浮）in its greasy-feeling（油腻感） buoyant（有浮力的）brine（盐水）. Devotees（热爱家）also believe its waters and the mud at the margins（湖边的）are good for the skin.
The Dead Sea has been shrinking for decades as the inflow（流入）dwindles（缩小）from its main source, the Jordan River.
Israel, Jordan and Syria rely on the river and its tributaries（支流）to meet the needs of increasing populations and agriculture in the arid region（干旱地区）, and diversions have slowed the biblical（圣经的）river to a muddy trickle（细流）.